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Top 7 Innovative Inventions of 2016

Top 7 Innovative Inventions of 2016

In 2015, I published a viral piece for the Inquisitr about the most underrated inventions of the 2010s, so far. Last year, we had the DNA testing app, which shocked the world of medicine. Also, the condoms that change colors whenever it encountered STD antigens was another underrated, yet genius invention.

Due to an eye-watering amount of inventions were introduced to the world this year, I figured it would only be right to expose you to more inventions. The following inventions not only sold units like hotcakes, they also made some sort of impact in the industry they dominate in. Below are seven of the top innovative inventions of 2016.

Ready?

7. The Levitating Lightbulb

flyte-lightbulb
    Credit: FLYTE

    On TIME’s 25 Best Inventions of 2016, this product topped their list. It’s called Flyte and it is a lightbulb relying solely on electromagnetism technology to levitate and spin around. This bulb design came from the same man who invented the first levitating skateboard: Simon Morris. However, the board never managed came off the ground.

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    Inspired by the likes of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, Morris says that Flyte has sold tremendously well since its release in January. A different line of ecosystem products is expected to be released in June of 2017.

    6. The Folding Bike Helmet

    morpher-folding-helmet
      Credit: Latest Gadgets UK

      With the helmet costing a little over $100, this folding helmet is the ultimate gift for any cyclist. Jeff Woolf, the inventor of Morpher, came up with this idea following a tragic accident that nearly took his life.

      One day, however, Woolf came up with the idea to create a bike helmet that can fit into any backpack. Utilizing Indiegogo, the Morpher concept was able to rack up over $300,000 in donations from the internet. The Morpher is expected to continue pushing units in the US and Europe.

      5. The StreetSaw Hoverboard

      streetsaw-hoverboard
        Credit: StreetSaw

        Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, StreetSaw’s self-balancing electric scooters are one of the greatest hoverboards ever invented. Its founder, Daniel Moravec, unveiled the first StreetSaw hoverboard at the Consumer Electronics Show, thus changing the personal transportation industry.

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        With millions of hoverboards sold, according to Roger Martin, a customer service representative at StreetSaw, more varieties and models are expected to be released in the future.

        4. PlayStation VR

        sony-playstation-vr
          Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

          In 2016, Sony decided to step its game up with a virtual reality headset. PlayStation VR, a great, powerful headset, is the next-generation of gaming. This VR product works with any existing PlayStation 4 console, increasing the intensity of your entertainment experience.

          It costs a couple hundred bucks, but it serves as one of the easiest ways to experience what all video games will look like in the future. According to VG247, although Sony showed up to the virtual reality industry late, it has already dominated all its competition, including HTC and Samsung.

          3. China’s Heavenly Space Station

          china-space-station-docking
            Credit: China Manned Space Engineering Office

            This invention is out of this world. Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, two Chinese astronauts, arrived in orbit with an orbital laboratory bigger than the International Space Station (ISS). The space station, Tiangong-2 (Heavenly Palace 2), was created with a wide exercise area and a medical experiment bay, TIME reported.

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            What is China’s next big move? Well, the Chinese government plans to launch an even bigger space station by 2018. It’s expected to be “comfier” than the ISS.

            2. “Real Life” Barbies

            real-life-barbies-mattel-toy-industry
              Credit: Mattel

              For the first time in nearly 57 years, Mattel, the creator of Barbies, gave the dolls a major facelift. Due to decreased sales, Mattel did something no one saw coming: they changed the appearance of their dolls into real-life human beings.

              Barbie dolls now come in different hair colors, styles, ethnic backgrounds, and shapes. Gone are the unrealistic, generic body figures that influenced young girls to follow. In 2016, the large move was marked as one of the biggest of all-time in the toy industry.

              1. The Speaker That Talks Back

              amazon-echo-speaker
                Credit: GeekLife

                Amazon has revolutionized the tech industry in countless ways. The Amazon Echo, a standard Bluetooth speaker, is one of their greatest inventions and best-selling products of 2016. Unlike Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, this speaker, using Alexa’s functionality, can use different apps, wake you up in the morning, call an Uber for you, turn off the lights in your home, and even order pizza.

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                It’s an extremely powerful speaker that can be purchased on Amazon for only $59, with the better models ranging from $99 and up. So now you know. Seeking your own personal assistant? Look no further, Alexa is here to help you anytime of the day.

                Bottom line: 2016 brought some amazing inventions that stunned the tech world. However, as we move forward, let’s see what 2017 will bring. Maybe a flying car? I’m crossing my fingers!

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                Jose Florez

                Mental Health Writer

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                Last Updated on October 21, 2019

                How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

                How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

                U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is a reminder of why I am so drawn to leadership as a topic. Whenever I think it is impossible for me to be more impressed with her, she proves me wrong.

                Earlier this week, a former marine suggested that he had been in a long-term sexual relationship with the Senator. She flipped the narrative and used the term “Cougar,” a term used to describe older women who date younger men, to reference her alma mater.

                Rather than calling the young man a liar, or responding to the accusations in kind, she re-focused the conversation back to her message of college affordability and lifted up that “Cougar” was the mascot for her alma mater. She went on to note that tuition at her school was just $50 per semester when she was a student. Class act.

                But by the end of the week, news broke that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the presidency, had a heart attack. Warren not only wished Sanders a speedy recovery but her campaign sent a meal to his staff. She knew that the hopes of staff, donors and supporters were with the Senator from Vermont and showed genuine compassion and empathy.

                To me, she has proven time and time again that she is more than a presidential candidate: she belongs in a leadership hall of fame.

                What makes some people excel as leaders is fascinating. You can read about leadership, research it and talk about it, yet the interest in leadership alone will not make you a better leader.

                You will have more information than the average person, but becoming a good leader is lifelong work. It requires experience – and lots of it. Most importantly, it requires observation and a commitment to action. Warren observed what was happening with Sen. Sanders, empathized with his team and then took action. Regardless of the outcome of this election, Sanders’ staff will likely never forget her gesture.

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                You would have had to work on a political campaign in order to appreciate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. In this moment, staff may not remember everything that Warren said throughout the lengthy campaign, but they will remember what she did during an unforgettable time during the campaign.

                If this model of leadership is appealing, and if you are searching for how to up your own leadership game, read on for six characteristics that good leaders share:

                1. Good leaders are devoted to the success of the people around them.

                Good leaders are not self-interested. Sure, they want to succeed, but they also want others to succeed.

                Good leaders see investing in others just as important as they see investing in themselves. They understand that their success is closely tied to the people around them, and they work to ensure that their peers, employees, friends and family have paths for growth and development.

                While the leaders may be the people in the spotlight, they are quick to point to the people around them who helped them (the leaders) enter that spotlight. Their willingness to lift others inspires their colleagues’ and friends’ devotion and loyalty.

                2. Good leaders are not overly dependent on others’ approval.

                It is important for managers to express their support for their teams; good leaders must be independent of the approval of others. I explained in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that:[1]

                “While a desire to be loved is natural, managers who prioritize approval from subordinates will become ineffective supervisors who may do employees harm. For example, a manager driven by a need for approval may shy away from delivering constructive feedback that could help an employee improve. A manager fearful of upsetting someone may tolerate behavior that degrades the work environment and culture.”

                In yet another example, a manager who is dependent on the approval of others may not make decisions that could be deemed unpopular in the short run but necessary in the long run.

                Think of the coaches who integrated their sporting teams. Their decision to do so, may have seemed odd, and even wrong, in the moment, but time has proven that those leaders were on the right side of history.

                3. Good leaders have the capacity to share the spotlight.

                Attention is nice, but it is not the prime motivator for good leaders. Doing a good job is.

                For this reason, good leaders are willing to share the spotlight. They aren’t threatened by a lack of attention, and they do not need credit for every accomplishment. They are too focused on their goal and too focused on the urgency of their work.

                4. Good leaders are students.

                In the same way that human beings are constantly evolving, so too are leaders. As long as you are living, you have the potential to learn. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you think you have; you can always learn something new.

                I have the experience of thinking I was doing everything right as a manager, only to receive conflicting feedback from my team. Perhaps my approach was not working for my team, and I had to be willing to hear their feedback to improve.

                Good leaders understand that their secret sauce is their willingness to keep receiving information and keep learning. They aren’t intimidated by what they do not know: As long as they maintain a willingness to keep growing, they believe they can overcome any obstacle they face.

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                As both masters and students, good leaders read, listen and study to grow. They consume content for information, not just entertainment purposes. They aren’t impressed with their knowledge; they are impressed with the learning journey.

                5. Good leaders view vulnerability as a superpower.

                It means “replacing ‘professional distance and cool,’ with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” said Emma Sappala in a Dec. 11, 2014, article, “What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable” for Harvard Business Journal.[2] She went on to note the importance of human connection, which she asserts is often missing at work.

                “As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.”

                This rings so true for me as a woman leader. I was raised believing that any show of emotion in the workplace could be used against me. I was raised believing that it was best for women leaders to be stoic and to “never let ‘em see you sweat.” This may have prevented me from connecting with employees and colleagues on a deeper, more personal level.

                6. Good leaders understand themselves.

                I am a huge fan of life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant. In addition to her hit show on the OWN network, Vanzant has authored dozens of books. In her books and teachings, she underscores the importance of knowing ourselves fully. She argues that we must know what makes us tick, what makes us happy and what makes us angry.

                Self-awareness enables us to put ourselves in situations where we can thrive, and it also enables us to have compassion when we fall short of the goals and expectations we have for ourselves. Relatedly, understanding ourselves will allow us to know our strength. When we know our strengths, we will be able to put people around us who compliment our strengths and fill the gaps in our leadership.

                Final Thoughts

                Being a good leader, first and foremost, is an inside job. You must focus on growing as a person regardless of the leadership title that you hold. You cannot take others where you yourself have not been. So focusing on yourself, regardless of your time or where you are in your career will have long term benefits for you and the people around you.

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                Further, if you want to become a good leader, you should start by setting the intention to do so. What you focus on grows. If you focus on becoming a better leader, you will research and invest in things that help you to fulfill this intention. You will also view the good and bad leadership experiences as steppingstones that hone your character and help you improve.

                After you set the intention, get really clear on what a good leader looks like to you. Each of us has a different understanding of leadership. Is a good leader someone who takes risk? Is a good leader, in your estimation, someone who develops other leaders? Whatever it is, know what you’re shooting for. Once you define what it means to be a good leader, look for people who exemplify your vision. Watch and engage with them if you can.

                Finally, understand that becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. You must continually work at improving, investing in yourself and reflecting on what is going well and what you must improve. In this way, every experience is an opportunity to grow and a chance to ask: ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ or ‘what action is necessary based on this situation?’

                If you are committed to questioning, evaluating and acting, you are that much closer to becoming a better leader.

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                Featured photo credit: Sam Power via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Good Managers Overcome the Desire to Be Liked
                [2] Harvard Business Journal: What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable

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